The Beltran Intrigue Continues
Fresh off of the second straight National League victory in the All-Star game, baseball fans have only one more dull, sports-free day to sit through before the excitement of the second half begins. The end of the All-Star break also marks the beginning of trade season, a part of the year that could make a break a club with playoff hopes. This is the time to load up on your Cody Rosses and Pat Burrells if you have any designs of winning a World Series (I realize both of those examples were acquired well after and well before the deadline in ‘10 respectively).
Even with home field advantage clinched for the NL once again, the real intrigue of the All-Star game came when Brian Wilson was announcing the National League lineup, and made a not-so-subtle pro-Giants pitch to Carlos Beltran. After the game, Wilson then intimated that the Giants were in talks for the Mets outfielder. Now given that the Bearded Wonder’s consistent state of mind is somewhere between loony and straight up nuts, we should probably take his claims with a grain of sand. That said, Wilson’s words do seem to represent a mindset in the organization that appears to at least be mildly interested in making Beltran a Giant.
All this begs the question of what such a venture would cost though. Having just dealt volatile closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Brewers for pennies on the dollar, there’s a prevailing aura of “firesale” surrounding the Mets now as they begin to unload their large contracts, likely in preparation for making a run at a long-term deal for Jose Reyes. With this being so, the cost of Beltran will be largely dependent on how much of his substantial salary the Giants are willing to take on. In today’s live chat, MLB Trade Rumors guru Tim Dierkes suggested that it may take somewhere along the lines of outfielder Thomas Neal, but in my mind even that seems unlikely. The Mets just agreed to pay a majority of Francisco Rodriguez’ salary in addition to taking just two players to be named later in return; if the Giants can scrape together enough cash to cover say, 75% of Beltran’s 2011 salary, I’d say there’s a good chance that he could similarly be had for players of the PTBNL variety.
This then leads us to the following question: do we need Carlos Beltran? To this I would reply with something along of the lines “please God, yes, yes a million times yes, I can only take so many 1-0 games before my neighbors start complaining about the screaming.” As a team, the Giants are hitting .243/.309/.363 this season, so needless to say, introducing a .285/.377/.503 hitter into a lineup full of Miguel Tejadas and Eli Whitesides would be a godsend. Paint a picture with your imagination brush of a lineup where Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran are hitting back-to-back in the order (and try with all your might to not think of Buster Posey, lest you burst into tears). Feels good doesn’t it?
The jury is of course still out though, with no word from the front office or higher-ups on whether or not a deal is really in the works. At this point, let’s consider no news good news until something substantial actually happens. In the meantime we’ll see if help really is on the way. Maybe, just maybe we’ll be able to upgrade this offense from “depressingly inefficient” to “delightfully mediocre”; I’ll definitely be crossing my fingers for the latter.
UPDATE: According to Buster Olney, the Mets are looking for a “big-time” prospect in exchange for Beltran. Given how little they accepted for Francisco Rodriguez and all the rumors leading up to now, I have my doubts that they’ll reign in anything of that variety if the receiving team is willing to take on salary. This could be a ploy by the Mets front office to drive up the return in the midst of rumors that Beltran could be had for very little.